Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2



  • My apologies for asking what has probably been asked and answered before but after several hours of searching, I haven't found it.

    Could someone please point me to the information on upgrading an apu2 from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4. I've looked but not found clear instructions. Is it deprecated due to abandonment of nanoBSD for pfSense? Is it possible to run 2.4 on the apu2?

    Thank you.



  • 2.4.4 runs fine on the APU2. I'd suggest backing up the config, doing a clean install, and restoring the config. If you are still running off an SD card, I would put an msata in it, although you could install the full version on the SD. Use the memstick serial installer and a console cable.



  • @dotdash said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    2.4.4 runs fine on the APU2. I'd suggest backing up the config, doing a clean install, and restoring the config. If you are still running off an SD card, I would put an msata in it, although you could install the full version on the SD. Use the memstick serial installer and a console cable.

    I have backed up the config. I have a terminal connected to the serial port. I am having difficulty getting the APU to boot from the USB flash drive so that I can write to the SD. Apparently my terminal emulator does not generate the correct character sequence(s) to command the BIOS to boot from the USB flash drive.

    Is there a disk-image that I can just load onto the SD card?

    Is there sufficient disk activity to really favor installing an mSATA card on the APU2 over using the SD card as the boot device? I'm not sure there is sufficient room in the case for an mSATA card.

    Thank you. I hate to be a bother but this just gotten a lot more complex for running pfSense on an embedded system.



  • With nano gone, there is no image you can load on a card.
    You should be able to hit f10 when the BIOS comes up on the terminal.
    Even with nano, I've seen dead/corrupted SD cards. If you want to risk it, enable RAM disk under advanced.



  • @dotdash said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    With nano gone, there is no image you can load on a card.

    Ah, too bad for us embedded people.

    You should be able to hit f10 when the BIOS comes up on the terminal.

    F10/F12 (I forget which but the BIOS identifies it) does not seem to work properly. I guess this is a pcEngines issue. Just thought others might have run into the problem.

    Even with nano, I've seen dead/corrupted SD cards. If you want to risk it, enable RAM disk under advanced.

    It has always worked well before. Lots of small/embedded systems boot from SD. My understanding of RAM disk is very different from mass storage. I am not looking to use RAM to simulate swap space or some such. Also SD is block/sector addressable, not byte addressable so it really isn't RAM.

    Sounds like most of what I need to know I need to get from pcEngines. Thank you for your help. I appreciate it.



  • @dotdash Got 2.4.4 running. Did a clean install as you suggested. Previous problem was serial terminal emulator was not generating the correct escape sequence for "F10" in order to allow me to select the boot device. Changing the serial terminal emulator solved the problem. Thanks for your assistance.


  • Netgate Administrator

    You can certainly run a full install from SD card, I have that running here. Just be sure to remove the SWAP slice during the install and move /var and /tmp to RAM drives as Nano did once installed.
    It is much slower disk access than mSATA but generally that's not a problem once booted.

    Steve



  • Having not used BSD for many years I realize that my sysadmin skills are a bit rusty. I can't remember ever using a RAM disk on Unix before. Do you have any pointers to doing what you recommend? Perhaps this should be an option in the installation script.

    Thanks.


  • Netgate Administrator

    It's an option in System > Advanced > Misc. Just check the box for 'Use memory file system for /tmp and /var'. I usually double the default size of both unless you're very tight on RAM. Which you shouldn't be. 😉

    Steve



  • @stephenw10 said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    I usually double the default size of both unless you're very tight on RAM. Which you shouldn't be. 😉

    If you intend to use packages like pfBlockerNG you should consider increasing the size of /var even further. With pfBlockerNG-devel and a few list active I can easily hit 300+ megabytes of usage during an update of the lists.



  • Thank you! I would likely never have dug down that far in the menus to see that.

    Hmmm, now about DNS over TLS ...



  • @grimson said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    If you intend to use packages like pfBlockerNG you should consider increasing the size of /var even further. With pfBlockerNG-devel and a few list active I can easily hit 300+ megabytes of usage during an update of the lists.

    I would need to know what pfBlockerNG does in order to decide if I want to use it.

    Boy have threats and exploits expanded since I built my first commercial firewall in 1990.



  • @brianlloyd Hi, just few side note for APU2 users with booting from external devices:
    Console settings for serial port must to be set on 115200 baud 8,N,1 for APU" bios correct show up (with putty is best for me)

    Because APU2 Bios is not much shiny, maybe "not all" usb devices is allowed/initialaized on boot stage,
    I notice this with my Transcend sd reader native usb 3.0 stick, when I attempt to boot from APU2 usb 3.0 host port , every try is fail.
    No matter if I play around boot loader menu (F10 key) smply my usb 3.0 sd reader wont'work with APU2 usb 3.0 port !

    So I suggest to swap your usb stick and or swap to usb 2.0 onboard port for avoid booting problems. Well also internal SD card slot is fine, of course.

    Anyway is PcEngine bios fault,not related with pfSense releases .
    Another thing I see when just about new installation of pfSense from downloaded Console "serial" AMD64 Memstick image on my APU2,

    After installation is done, thefolder /var/run is already configured to live in RAM, with pfSense installed on a mSata clean ada0 drive, enough for avoiding me additional configuration. Nice!

    Goodbye.



  • @babiz said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    @brianlloyd Hi, just few side note for APU2 users with booting from external devices:
    Console settings for serial port must to be set on 115200 baud 8,N,1 for APU" bios correct show up (with putty is best for me)

    Not having readily available Windows machines, I had to opt for something else. I found that the "Serial.app" terminal emulator for MacOS worked just fine to talk to the console port on the APU2.

    Because APU2 Bios is not much shiny, maybe "not all" usb devices is allowed/initialaized on boot stage,
    I notice this with my Transcend sd reader native usb 3.0 stick, when I attempt to boot from APU2 usb 3.0 host port , every try is fail.
    No matter if I play around boot loader menu (F10 key) smply my usb 3.0 sd reader wont'work with APU2 usb 3.0 port !

    So I suggest to swap your usb stick and or swap to usb 2.0 onboard port for avoid booting problems. Well also internal SD card slot is fine, of course.

    I used a USB 2.0 flash-drive with the distribution loaded on it. F10 worked to allow me to boot from the external flash drive. I wrote the new system to the internal 16GB SD card. It worked fine.

    Anyway is PcEngine bios fault,not related with pfSense releases .

    Yes, true. The information I got from pcEngines about the character sequence for F10 was not useful. Regardless, the terminal emulator in Serial.app worked fine. Apparently its F10 produces the correct character sequence expected by the BIOS.

    Another thing I see when just about new installation of pfSense from downloaded Console "serial" AMD64 Memstick image on my APU2,

    After installation is done, thefolder /var/run is already configured to live in RAM, with pfSense installed on a mSata clean ada0 drive, enough for avoiding me additional configuration. Nice!

    I would put in an mSATA drive but I don't think it will fit in the enclosure provided by pcEngines for the APU and APU2 boards. If it will, I may go back and use that instead of the SD card.

    Goodbye.

    Thank you, and may you have a pleasant Holiday Season.


  • Netgate Administrator

    @brianlloyd said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    I would put in an mSATA drive but I don't think it will fit in the enclosure provided by pcEngines for the APU and APU2 boards.

    I would be amazed if it doesn't. mSATA is a slot on the board, there is almost no way they could make an enclosure that didn't fit it. We fitted mSATA to APU1 as an option and I believe the APU2 shares the same footprint.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10 said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    @brianlloyd said in Upgrading from 2.3.4 to 2.4.4 on pcEngines APU2:

    I would put in an mSATA drive but I don't think it will fit in the enclosure provided by pcEngines for the APU and APU2 boards.

    I would be amazed if it doesn't. mSATA is a slot on the board, there is almost no way they could make an enclosure that didn't fit it. We fitted mSATA to APU1 as an option and I believe the APU2 shares the same footprint.

    Steve

    Oh. Looking at the board I see one of the slots I thought was PCIe is labeled mSATA. Yes, that should work. I have an mSATA board on the way. I'll move the system onto that instead of the SD card. Thanks!